Saturday, December 24, 2005

Tickets on Sale Jan. 13

Just in case

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The tree is decorated, the boys are on their way home, I'm preparing for our 'traditional' Christmas Eve fondue and Ross is out shopping. Have a happy, healthy and wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Present

Gift alert! If you're expecting a gift from me this year and want to be surprised stop reading now. It appears that in the gift giving department I'm quickly turning into my mother-in-law. For years now she has been issuing cheques for presents. I'm a bit guilty of this myself (especially for some recent weddings) and I've come to realize that it's not a good feeling when you resort to this but hey, nobody minds getting money!

'Gift cards' have been around for awhile (and their predecessor the certificate) and it's making the whole gift thing a lot easier. You still feel that you're putting some thought into (however minimal) and not just giving random money that could otherwise drift into the economic ether.

We've all been given gifts which we inwardly wonder what we did to deserve. We've all given gifts where the recipient tries hard to make us feel that they really appreciate the gift. Gift cards remove about 50% of all this nonsense. You still feel that you've made an effort to find a gift card that fits the person's interests yet you don't actually have to commit to making the choice. They can even choose not to spend it if they wish.

One big down side to gift cards is their lack of pizzazz re: presents under the tree. Putting it in a big box to trick Ross only works the first few times.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Evolving Web

I'll be doing a short presentation to the Alt staff in January about 'creating web pages'. The days of talking about html and uploading web pages appears to be past. What I am fast discovering is that the web is providing opportunities for the average non-Dreamweaver user to create and publish seamlessly.

A few ones I'm currently researching: Goowy, Protopage, IG (Google), NetVibes, My Yahoo , Start.com. Each one has its pros and cons and all of them tend to make one think - when will they start charging for this service? How (not when) will they start putting in ads to make it pay?

The nice thing about Protopage is the ability to make pages publically available - AltSch22.

Other things to check out: Jotspot , Writely, Rallypoint, FreeMind, DemoStudio, ThinkFree Office Online

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Walkin' the Line

First day on the picket line oberservations:
  • very boring
  • lots of support from public
  • no end in sight
  • no one wins in a labour dispute
For the first time in my career I feel we are totally justified in our position. The government set up a system they now declare 'unworkable' and 'broken' and then proceed to create laws to enforce their position. How could the bargaining system EVER work if this is the inevitable conclusion? No managament group would EVER bargain with employees if they knew that at any point they could just create a law to 'solve' everything. And this is what the government thinks is fair?

How do we explain to students that breaking the law is okay? In fact, how do we explain to students that sometimes laws are unjust and must be changed? Problems are solved by working out solutions, not by enforcing laws. Our government insists they have solved the problem by passing a law. I would not want to hold this up to students as an example of good problem solving.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Practice, practice, practice

. . .in answer to the question in the title of the last post. Or know a world famous conductor who happens to live in Vernon and is taking a group there to perform some of his pieces. Imant Raminsh is having 2 of his pieces performed in New York and was asked to bring a choir with him. He then invited singers from other choirs to come as well and I just sort of tagged along with that group. Can you believe it - me singing at Carnegie Hall - not in my wildest dreams! At least you can say you knew me before I became famous.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Huge excitement with the news that I will be singing at Carnegie Hall in March! More later.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Fall Equinox

The lease was up on the old blue van so Ross boogied down to the GM dealer on Friday and picked up this Equinox. We then drove to Penticton to scatter Great Aunt Pat's ashes in the lake. It comfortably fits 5 (although we had a total of 7 in on Saturday night but that's another story) and is easy for the parents to get in and out of. It's our first white vehicle and has AWD and ABS (Ross's requirement). It's one of the smaller SUVs around although the perspective in the picture makes it look even smaller. Should suffice for the next 4 years.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Summer Reading

I enjoy summer for many reasons but one of the foremost is the opportunity to read for pleasure. Some of these were on recommendations and some were out of desperation.

Kite Runner - by Khaled Hosseini - Best novel I've read in a LONG time. Very compelling human interest with lots of depth - friendship, family, love, death, forgiveness, loyalty. The downside: I had to bring out the kleenex a couple of times.

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett - Still haven't slogged my way through this one. I'm hoping to finish it but I'm not optimistic. I'm finding it too heavy and oppressive.

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides - Unique perspective on a unique biological situation. A bit over the top at times (eg when Cal's working at the SF porn club), it's kind of fascinating at others. Sorta like that train wreck.

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown - I think this means I've now read all his novels and enjoyed every one. This one, although it has lots of cliffhanging page turning moments, didn't seem as intricate or subtle. It did, however, help me survive the drive through Idaho and Montana (see previous posting).

Ten Big Ones - Janet Evanovich - The only one of hers I've read but I understand there's lots more. Easy/fun reading - along the lines of Grafton or Reichs - casual sounding, female protaganist. Although I don't understand the whole bounty hunting thing as the Canadian system is different I guess. I also think she should do something about her web site.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stowaway


This little guy was on the back of the motorhome when we left Vernon and travelled most of the way with us. I think we lost him in the fog on the Oregon coast somewhere.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back Home Again

Things I'm glad we had on our holiday:

a. 12X zoom lens on my Lumix for those far off wildlife shots, also served as binoculars
b. no destination - there's something immensely satisfying about not having to GO anyplace and just enjoying where you are
c. maps - you're lost without them - best source: visitor's centres - don't buy the 4.95 ones at the garage that also charges .50 for air (although you can have free air if you ask the cashier)
d. each other - living with just your spouse for that many days can take its toll (major argument - in the grocery store over what to have for dinner - result: roasted garlic with brie on baguette and red wine - mmm!)
e. extended health insurance (see "Incident" entry below)
f. other people's wireless internet access - once again: Thanks.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Left Jackson as soon as Ross saw the Doctor on Monday. We did Idaho and Oregon (2 1/2 days of incredibly boring driving but I got the Dan Brown book Digitial Fortress to help me through) and we're now in Washington. The coast here is just like Oregon - lots of fog. Once we reached the coast we took our time, stopping at some great state parks and enjoying the rugged views. Visited the Sea Lion caves by Lincoln, and wandered on the dunes at night. Had an anniversary meal at Mo's (famous for it's chowder) in Florence.

Our goal this morning was to drive till we got out of the fog but it didn't happen so we stopped at Long Beach, Washington and managed to find a campsite in the sun. Tomorrow we'll either head up to the north end of the peninsula or head into Seattle.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Missing Sock

The title above is the name of the laundromat we're parked beside 'borrowing' their wi-fi access. Don't you just love laundromats with wireless? We're still in Jackson, waiting to see the doctor tomorrow (Monday). Jackson is an upscale old west style town, if there is such a thing. We found a cheaper campground in the Teton National Park and yesterday drove over to the Jackson Hole ski hill (about 10 miles) and took the tram up to the peak at 10, 450 feet. It was cold and windy (45 F) and ours was the last tram down before they shut down because of the weather. Who knows how long we would have had to wait up there before the weather cleared up.

Since we haven't received any suggestions for the rest of the trip we decided to head for Seattle and take in a few ball games. Checked the schedule and it looks like we're out of luck - the Mariners are out of town. Plan B: head to the Oregon coast and head up the Olympic Peninsula, over to Seattle and up to the Vancouver area.

For those following the saga, Ross's new apparatus:
Gratuitous shot of a moose:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jackson

Last night, since it was about 7pm after we got Ross's prescriptions we had no where to stay but managed to find a KOA at Jackson Hole, the famous skiing spot, about 10 miles from Jackson. Usual cost for a campsite $25-30. Cost here: almost $50US!!! Free Wi-Fi however. Anyone interested in real estate down here? The listings include a category for $10,000,000 and up! I had to count the zeroes to make sure I was seeing correctly. And there are many listings in that category.

No plans from here on. Ross is supposed to see the doc on Monday if we're still in the area. Golfing's out. Any suggestions?

The Incident

Let’s just say the incident involved a tree, the motorhome awning, a handsaw and Ross's finger. And let’s add that it’s a good thing we don’t have an itinerary for this trip ‘cuz if we did it just went out the window. Let me finally add that it appears that some people will do anything to get out of having to play golf against me.

The details: Immediately following the aforementioned incident on Thursday night, and with Ross trying to stem the flow of blood on his finger, he had me rummage around in his golf bag for a measly bandaid. I’ll also add this may be the first road trip we’ve made without the first aid kit. Figures. The bandaid wasn’t really very effective, and since it was 9pm we wandered down to the check-in station to see if they could help. They provided a couple more bandaids to hold him over till morning.

By 10am we were at the local Yellowstone Park medical clinic and Ross went in with a bandaid on his finger and came out 1 ½ hours later with the following apparatus.

By 2:00 we were 100 miles down the road at the Jackson, Wyoming hospital and by 5:30 he’d had surgery and he left with an even bigger apparatus (sort of a cast) that has to stay on for a month. The cut itself wasn’t too bad but he’d completely severed the tendon so the doctor had to clean it out and stitch it up. The scariest part for Ross was that, since he’d had anesthetic, I had to drive the motorhome to our campsite. I think I did a pretty good job considering I hadn’t driven anything that big since the McLeod Transfer 3 ton moving truck when I was 20.

So it looks like our trip to Yellowstone is over but we did manage to get a good impression of it. There are thousands of “geothermal features” many of which are geysers. Old Faithful is just one of the fairly predictable ones but we saw many on our trip through. At various places there are many boiling, gurgling, steaming, gushing and bubbling pools and ponds. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a volcanic crater. Here are a few small ones spouting off.

Here’s a little tip for the next time a bison and her calf decide to stand in the middle of the road and cause the traffic to back up for half a mile in either direction: just drive directly at them and lay on the horn. At least that’s what one guy in a truck did after we’d sat there for about 15 minutes. It appears that this will at least get them moving to the other side of the road. The bison are plentiful and we also saw a few elk.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Heading into Yellowstone tomorrow so we're thinking there won't be any internet or cell access in the wilderness. We pulled out of Waterton bright and early at 10:30am and drove south to Great Falls, Montana. Montana has the best of scenery and the worst of scenery. The magnificent Rockies and the dreadful (and boring) plains.

Strangely enough, when we crossed the border into Montana the only contraband that was confiscated were our 2 citrus fruits, one lime and one lemon. Really put a cramp into the gin and tonic situation. However, the customs official was very apologetic about taking our fruit.

Golfed yesterday at Waterton - a good course considering it's in a National Park. Took $3 off Ross but that's only because I felt sorry for him and gave him a chance on the last two holes. We drove up to Cameron Lake and balanced the camera on some rocks for a photo. Lots of wildlife but mostly deer and elk, oh, and a few bison in the paddock. Haven't seen any bears or mountain goats yet. The deer aren't shy.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Waterton

This park seems to be a popular vacation spot for Albertans and understandbly so. It's got some beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation. Yesterday we drove up to Red Rock Canyon which is appropriately named.
In the evening we took a boat ride into Montana on Upper Waterton Lake which spans both Canada and the US. The border is marked by a several yard wide clearcut through the mountains, visible in this photo.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On our way to Yellowstone

Some highlights from the trip so far:

What kind of yahoo would drive through a Wal-Mart parking lot at 1am honking his horn and yelling? Come to think of it, what kind of idiot would park his motorhome in a Wal-Mart parking lot? We drove to Penticton on Wed. night and with nowhere booked (and the slim likelihood of anything being available this time of year) we decided to join the other losers in the W-M parking lot. Ross even took the opportunity to go on a shopping extravaganza.
Slow round of golf in Castlegar, our first clue should have been the fact that we were right behind 16 guys on a stag! Fortunately we made it to our dinner reservation at our favourite Castlegar restaurant Gabriel's. As usual, Ross spent time looking for his balls on the course.

On Friday we golfed Kokanee Springs where I managed to take $22 off Ross - beat him gross too. He hasn't paid up yet - could the humiliation have been too much for him?

Last night we stayed in Sparwood which we think must be the most easterly community in BC. It also has the 'world's largest truck'.

We also stopped in Frank, Alberta, the scene of the famous slide in 1903 which brought down several million ton of rock onto the town, killing many who lived there.

Today we are in Waterton Lakes National Park in the spectacular Rockies of Alberta. The campground has wireless for $10 a day but when I fired up the laptop, lo and behold, there's another wireless somewhere in the area. Thanks, fellow camper, whoever you are.
We have a tee time for tomorrow at the Waterton course, then on Tuesday we'll try to make it out of the country, towards Montana.

Monday, August 01, 2005

28th Annual

The Hartfield is over for another year. The empty cans and wine bottles have been cleaned up, the sewer pipe replaced and the ramps put away. It's time to dry out, shun tiramisu and launder the sheets. With temperatures in the mid 30s the new a/c was a big hit. And Ross claims victory (though it is unverified) with a score of 2, close on the heels of a win last year (also with 2) by the author.

Marj argues her 'one bounce through the hole' shot with course designer Vincent, to no avail. "If it went through the hole, it had to go through the air. Where do the rules say it has to be on the fly?"







Ross graciously accepts the coveted trophy from participant Gerry. In his acceptance speech he thanked his wife for all her encouragement. His name will be engraved along with all the prestigious winners of the past. The ladies trophy was thankfully not presented.







A feature of this year's event was the specialty breakfasts, including the birdie, par and here, part of the bogey breakfast, Martin samples the traditional cinnamon buns. Little did we know he thought (or imagined) they were all for him.








See you all next year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google Moon

Perhaps I'm turning into a themed blog (Google) but another cool idea - Google Moon in honour of the moon landing 36 years ago. What I remember about the moon landing was that it was a VERY big deal at the time but much bigger in hindsight. Don't forget to zoom all the way in!

Mark's Wedding - a few photos





Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fly the Earth - More Google Stuff

Google recently released the free Google Earth (beta) program. A 3-D interface for the planet. If you thought (like I did) that Google Satellite maps was cool this beats it by a mile. "Fly" from one place to another, tilt the earth, rotate around sites - if you love looking down on earth from an airplane you'll enjoy the sights from Google Earth. You'll need to download and install on your computer (sorry no Mac version yet) but it's easy to navigate from one place to another.

Take a sightseeing tour. Then do the download.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Google takes over the world

It's only a matter of time folks. Literally, though, they have the whole world mapped now. Not to the resolution I'd like to see but it's getting better all the time. And nothing beats their satellite maps where you can look for other houses in your neighbourhood with swimming pools.

Then there's all the fun to be had at Google Sightseeing and Tracking Florida Sexual Predators.

Nonetheless, stuck on Hwy 1 outside of Clearbrook, trying to get to Langley, traffic not moving, cellphone in hand. One call to Scott and he was able to direct us around the jam and right onto the Fraser Hwy in no time using Google maps. Thanks Scott and thanks Google.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

16th Blog

Who knew the guilt one would feel starting a blog and then not adding to it? Are there therapy sessions for this? It's just too much pressure to come up with something witty and interesting all the time.

Luckily I've googled some ways to manage blog guilt. And since I've already got this far I've already completed #5. Now I feel guiltier. Oh well.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Potty Rights?

Is this a joke? This kind of behaviour by teachers is not 'commonplace' and using the bathroom is not seen as a privilege by any caring and sensitive adult. Any parent who finds out that this is happening should not have to create a petition but should be able to take their complaint to the authorities just like any other abuse or problem.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

STV-get in the know and vote

The Liberal government of BC has given its citizens an unprecedented opportunity to make a decision about electoral reform. We need to take advantage of this opportunity by learning all we can about STV-BC and making an INFORMED decision on May 17. The counter arguments I've been hearing about lately are based more on disinformation or ignorance (by which I mean people who haven't taken the time to find out).

There are lots of web sites on STV but here's an interesting way of describing the actual process by using a situation of selecting a committee at a boys' school.

STV is not perfect. Implementing it will not be easy. Predicting how government will operate under the system is impossible. But keeping a bad system in place just because we've always had it is not logical. Status-quo is just too easy and I think it's an uphill battle for change.

Please note that despite the announcement from Elections BC this commentary in no way constitutes advertising. It is personal opinion only (duh-its a blog!).

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Time Running Out

In another 20 years Moore's Law may no long apply. Gordon Moore made the prediction himself.

Considering what has happened in the last 20 years, by 2025, anything we have today may not apply either.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Powerpoint Burnout

Just spent 2 days in Richmond at the BCEd Online Conference. Six sessions, 3 keynotes = 9 powerpoints and only one technical glitch among them.

Reasons to use powerpoint:
1. it gives people something to look at when your presentation gets boring
2. when you forget what you were going to say you can just read from the screen
3. instead of having to 'deliver' a joke (a presentation requirement) you can just put up a funny cartoon and not have to worry about 'timing'
4. you can add video clips that have nothing to do with your presentation but are very entertaining and take up time (fraud or real musician? my conclusion? The music doesn't match the balls-particularly on the repeated tones)
5. you can spend hours of work time creating it and adding flying text and colourful backgrounds and whooshing sounds and actually get paid for it

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Nine Holes and too many putts

. . . but it still felt good just to get out on the course for the first time this year. The new driver (King Cobra) needs some work but I think I'll like it a lot. And the 3 wood is as good as ever!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

$50.90

That's how much it cost me to fill up my car today. The most ever. And the price hasn't even hit $1/litre. I have two choices - stop driving my car or keep paying. Is that really a choice? Long live the oil companies.

You're Invited

This week I received 2 invitations.One invitation was from Scott, to apply for a gmail account. Yeah, I know, everyone already has one except for me. Not that I need another email account. Strangely enough, lhadfield and lynnfield were already taken. Could it be possible that people are cybersquatting gmail accounts? Could there possibly be another lhadfield or lynnfield out there somewhere? If you wish to email my gmail try lynnhadfield.

I was very excited to receive the 2nd invitation to Mark and Deb's wedding! We like Mark a lot and never expected to be invited to his wedding but are thrilled about and consider it an honour to be invited. Mark is Scott's best friend and we have known him since they were in Grade 9. Mark spent a lot of time here over the years and we consider him our 3rd son. Here's some marriage advice from pastor Mark (at Randy's wedding): love is more about making a choice than about a feeling.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields wrote some great tunes - I Can't Give You Anything But Love being one of them and a song I'm working at for our Jewels performance. She wrote it in 1928 and it still sounds great. She was the first woman inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The City by the Bay

Great things about San Francisco

1. great weather (it's always better when your expectations are low)
2. the ride on the side of the cable car
3. crab and shrimp sandwiches
4. laughing my head off at the Green Room comedy club - Jamie Lissow
5. Top of the Mark martinis
6. friendly people!
7. my easy going travelling companions - Sue, Rosie, Josie - thanks

Not so great things about San Francisco

1. the food - too much good stuff
2. Bay cruise around Alcatraz - recorded commentary :-(
3. long wait for the cable car

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Whining

I forgot to mention that the car below is a 2006 G6.

Today Ross and I bottled about 200 bottles of wine. It took almost 3 hours - 7 batches! Now you'd think that would be enough to last quite a while but 10 cases are for his niece's wedding in October.

OAN - my suitcase is packed, my passport is ready, the skies are looking clear. I just printed off a brochure for free walking tours so I think we're set. See you in San Francisco.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Wheels

Since the Cutlass is 12 years old it may be time to start lookin' around. This one looks good.


I wonder if the trunk is big enough for golf clubs.

Friday, March 18, 2005

.. be sure to wear some flowers in your hair . .

Did you guess from the title that I'm heading to San Francisco in a few days? My 2 week spring break holiday started today so I'm leaving on a jet plane on Wed. and spending 4 nights there. Hope the weather's good but I'm taking all sorts of warm/cold clothes.

Any suggestions about what exciting things to do in SF?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Microsoft Rules

And I don't mean in the good sense. I mean their stupid rules. I bought XP Pro last year and installed in on my old computer. I'm going to buy a new one and don't want to have to pay for it again so I emailed their support and asked them if I could put it on my new computer and did I need some sort of authentication to do that.

They responded:
Under the Windows XP End-User License Agreement (EULA), we can install one licensed copy of Windows XP on one computer. As long as we follow this license agreement, Windows XP can be reinstalled and reactivated without any limitation. Please perform online activation.
????!! Does this mean I can or can't? One computer at a time or just one ever? And who are "we"? "How are we feeling today?" We are feeling like Microsoft has too much of my $$ already.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Internet History

Within 30 minutes of viewing this bit of CBC archival footage I turned on the news to hear that the reporter Bill Cameron had died.

Ah memories-I think that 1993 was the year I did my first school project using the internet. It involved testing the pH level of the rain in our area and comparing it to other classes somewhere in the US. It was the middle of winter so all we could do was melt snow and test that using those little strips. Do you know how long it takes to melt a bucket of snow? I didn't either.

At that time probably 2 students in my Grade 5/6 class had 'heard of the internet'. We were using Pine or Elm mail to communicate. So primitive.

First Post

Well, what else was I going to title this post? As for the blog name, I'm a big Bobby McFerrin fan and this was definitely one of his worst songs. It made a bundle for him though.

Exploring Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) proved to be quite a contrast to my recent trip to Croatia. The number of touris...